Bill aims to stop coal companies from denying benefits to miners with black lung

By Chris Hamby

Two coal-state senators plan to introduce legislation to reform the federal benefits program for black lung victims.

Excerpts from this story referencing "West Virginia":

"… Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, and Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, aims to put a stop to those strategies. "To say this is shameful is an un …"

Ten major findings from our investigations so far this year

By Jared Bennett and Sarah Whitmire

Investigations from the first half of 2014

Excerpts from this story referencing "Arsenic":

"… ly 300,000 participants have signed up for the program. Keep reading 10. Arsenic is 17 times more potent than the EPA reports, and they've known it since 2 …"

Critic of artificial sweeteners pilloried by industry-backed scientists

By Chris Young

Any criticism of the artificial sweetener industry is met with a barrage of criticism, often from questionable sources.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… Carolyn de la Pena, a professor of American studies at the University of California at Davis, wrote in her 2010 book “Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artifici …"

Black lung claims by 1,100 coal miners may have been wrongly denied

By Chris Hamby

Black lung opinions by Dr. Paul Wheeler of Johns Hopkins should be assumed to lack credibility, senators are told at a hearing.

Excerpts from this story referencing "West Virginia":

"… its program, developed with Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, both of West Virginia, along with Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and U.S. Rep. George Miller of Califor …"

"… m top government labor officials, an insurance consultant, and miners from West Virginia battling the disease on a daily basis, including a retired miner on oxygen …"

"… oward and Dr. Jack Parker, the chief of pulmonary and critical care at the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center and a former top NIOSH official, counter …"

Even low doses of arsenic trigger cancer in mice, study finds

By David Heath

Study by the National Institutes of Health found levels of arsenic similar to what some people consume caused cancer in mice.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… rs in history. Extrapolating from those studies, scientists with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have tentatively concluded that arsenic is a serious p …"

"… pears to be safe,” Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, said in a statement …"

How politics derailed EPA science on arsenic, endangering public health

By David Heath

A ban on arsenic-containing pesticides was lifted after a lawmaker disrupted a scientific assessment by the EPA.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Florida":

"… ater fears Veterans Community Park is one of the busiest parks in Naples, Florida, with softball fields, basketball and tennis courts and a playground. In e …"

"… oundwater and ponds, a concern because 90 percent of all drinking water in Florida comes from wells. The EPA had already banned all pesticides containing ino …"

What to do if your drinking water contains arsenic

By David Heath

Millions of Americans unwittingly consume arsenic, a potent carcinogen also linked to IQ deficits in children, in their drinking water.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Arsenic":

"… f other Americans have no idea that they are regularly consuming Arsenic. Arsenic is an element found in the Earth’s crust, and it finds its way into food …"

"… as many as 3 million consume water that wouldn’t meet the EPA standard. Arsenic is especially common throughout the western United States. Some states hav …"

Foul air in heavily fracked Texas county has couple looking for a way out

By Lisa Song

After 23 years in once-placid Karnes County, Texas, Lynn and Shelby Buehring say they're moving to escape toxic fumes from a fracking boom.

Excerpts from this story referencing "George Washington University":

"… projections. Celeste Monforton, a public health researcher and lecturer at George Washington University, said at least some of Buehring's symptoms are consistent with known healt …"

Energy Dept. confirms it's been on the wrong path since 2007

By Douglas Birch

A newly-released DOE study concludes the department can save billions by shelving a costly South Carolina nuclear fuel factory.

Excerpts from this story referencing "federal government":

"… lliams’ review. South Carolina has filed a lawsuit seeking to force the federal government to complete the MOX fuel plant, where about 1,600 workers are currently em …"

Deadly Texas fertilizer plant explosion blamed on regulatory failures

A 2013 blast at West Fertilizer that killed 14 "never should have occurred," Chemical Safety Board chairman says.

Herbicide ban on hold in Sri Lanka, as source of deadly kidney disease remains elusive

By Sasha Chavkin

After Sri Lanka's announced ban on a Monsanto herbicide, opponents challenged the action and convinced the president to put the ban on hold.

Tough new fracking rules in Colorado drawing keen attention in Texas, where boom rages on

By Zahra Hirji, Lisa Song and Jim Morris

Air pollution rules adopted last month in Colorado may have an impact on oil and gas drilling in Texas.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… tightening air standards. Several companies have approached the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund and expressed interest in discussing whether Colorado’s r …"

"… tend we could have done it ourselves," he said. Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, a citizen advocacy group, also found hope in Colorado’s actions. …"

"… Hickenlooper’s office and the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment led the process. “I’d love to think we could have the support of the g …"

"… zene, a known carcinogen. The rules exceed regulations issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2012, which won't fully be implemented until 2015. …"

Sri Lanka bans Monsanto herbicide citing potential link to deadly kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

Sri Lanka orders ban on glyphosate, an active ingredient in Roundup, citing kidney disease outbreak; Monsanto said the evidence is unproven.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Sri Lanka":

"… e chemical may be linked to a kidney disease killing agricultural workers, Sri Lanka this week ordered a ban on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto …"

"… rbicide Roundup. The move comes weeks after publication of a new study in Sri Lanka suggesting glyphosate as the leading culprit for the illness. The paper di …"

"… t has killed tens of thousands of agricultural workers in Central America, Sri Lanka and India. The malady is suspected by scientists to be caused by a combina …"

"… its origins have yet to be fully uncovered. Wednesday’s announcement by Sri Lanka was the most dramatic measure taken to date to combat the illness. The leg …"

Nuclear Waste: Energy Department proposes to kill multi-billion dollar nuclear fuel plant

By Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith

The costliest U.S. nonproliferation program has been undone by huge cost overruns.

Nuclear Waste: Auditors find continuing mismanagement at nuclear fuel plant

By Douglas Birch

The GAO complains anew about DOE's unwillingness to investigate cost increases at the MOX plant, and learn from its mistakes there

Nuclear Waste: Cost of South Carolina fuel plant goes up by billions of dollars — again

By R. Jeffrey Smith and Douglas Birch

The MOX plant may cost another $30 billion to complete and operate, and federal officials are newly wary.

EPA abandons major radiation cleanup in Florida, despite cancer concerns

By Douglas P. Guarino

Federal agency abandons phosphate-mining clean-up, leaving more than 100,000 residents at risk of exposure to cancer-causing radiation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "radiation":

"… in an area that could expose more than 100,000 residents to cancer-causing radiation levels. Under a decision quietly finalized two weeks ago, the federal age …"

"… ong argued that the affected area need not be cleaned up in the absence of radiation levels well above what EPA policy would normally permit. The decision not …"

"… further, despite prior recommendations by federal officials that an aerial radiation survey of the area is needed. The state officials say they already have en …"

"… ed by the nuclear power industry — as a means for relaxing its radiation standards. The agency's approach to the Florida case lends further creden …"

Top environment investigations from 2013

By The Center for Public Integrity

In case you missed it, here are some of our favorite environment and workers' rights investigations from 2013.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Louisiana":

"… on the ground Residents living along the chemical corridor of Texas and Louisiana often encounter 'upset' emissions — triggering pollution, health fears. …"

High bladder cancer rate shrouds New York plant, exposing chemical hazards in the workplace

By Jim Morris

A decades-long spate of bladder cancer at a Goodyear plant in Niagara Falls, N.Y. spotlights limits of regulation over dangerous chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Ohio":

"… ientific support. In 1975, Peter Infante, then an epidemiologist with the Ohio Department of Health, reported significant excesses of birth defects in th …"

"… artment of Health, reported significant excesses of birth defects in three Ohio cities with PVC production sites. His study, he wrote, “demonstrated tha …"

Days after investigation, coal miners' safety net scrutinized

By Bill Buzenberg

Center's 'Breathless and Burdened' series leads U.S. senators to call for changes, major hospital to halt program and review practices.

Behind the story: 'Breathless and Burdened'

By Chris Hamby

Reporter Chris Hamby details his yearlong look at miners suffering from black lung disease, and their struggle for benefits.

'Breathless and Burdened' will examine coal industry's efforts to defeat black lung benefits claims

By Chris Hamby

Our yearlong investigative project examining how coal companies defeat sick miners' black lung benefits claims begins tomorrow.

EPA proposes crackdown on emissions from new gas, coal-fired power plants

By Kristen Lombardi

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

Countries target pesticides as suspected link to rare kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

Governments from El Salvador to Sri Lanka explore the role of pesticides in a malady killing laborers, as other scientists eye heat stress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "director":

"… fer from this distinctive form of kidney disease. Dr. Carlos Orantes, the director of El Salvador’s national research program into the mysterious disease, …"

"… used in India. Dr. Ajay Singh of Harvard University, one of the study’s directors, said the findings warranted closer examination of silica but were not ye …"

Russian site eyed for Syrian chemical weapons destruction

By R. Jeffrey Smith

There’s a reason why Western officials are being nice to Moscow now — they want Russia to destroy Syria’s deadly arsenal on its own soil.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Parsons Corporation":

"… ed on your arm.” According to a description of the Russian plant by the Parsons Corporation, its U.S.-based designer, the facility “can process small- and medium-si …"

Study delivers good, bad news on climate-impacting methane leakage from gas wells

By Lisa Song and Jim Morris

A study released today examines greenhouse-effect-causing methane emissions from natural gas drilling sites.

Excerpts from this story referencing "University of Texas at Austin":

"… an carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. The long-awaited study, led by the University of Texas at Austin and published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Aca …"

OSHA rule targets worker exposure to silica

By Jim Morris

Citing concerns over the deadly lung disease silicosis and lung cancer, OSHA on Friday proposed a rule to control worker exposure to silica.

Excerpts from this story referencing "George Washington University":

"… billion per year over the next 60 years. Celeste Monforton, a lecturer at George Washington University and a former OSHA official, said the glacial pace of the silica rule is a …"

'Nuclear Waste' series targets seriously troubled project

By Bill Buzenberg

Center’s series kicks off an ongoing investigation into the world’s faltering efforts to control these most dangerous nuclear explosives.

Nuclear Waste: Extremism in defense of federally-paid jobs is no vice in South Carolina

By Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith

PART THREE IN A SERIES: Lawmakers shed their fiscal conservatism to keep a troubled nuclear plant alive at Washington’s expense.

Excerpts from this story referencing "John Breaux":

"… project’s lobbying team has included several heavy hitters: former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), who left Congress in 2005; Leonard Bickwit Jr., general counsel t …"

'Upset' emissions: Flares in the air, worry on the ground

By Kristen Lombardi and Andrea Fuller

Residents living along the chemical corridor of Texas and Louisiana often encounter 'upset' emissions -- triggering pollution, health fears.